Sunday, August 31, 2014

This has got to stop

There was a time I contemplated a big birthday party. People do that for milestone years, but I just wasn't feeling it. Parties like that are like weddings: lots of fun but you don't get to spend quality time with anyone.

But this stretched out -- celebration here, celebration there -- is killing me. More precisely, it's expanding me. Like to the tune of the re-emergence of that spare tire I thought I'd beaten into a flat piece of hard rubber.

Oh sure: I COULD refuse to drink and to never indulge in a sweet treat every once in a while. As in, "you only turn 50 once, right? Have the cake!"  Problem is, I've turned 50 about 75 times now and every time there's been a sweet or a yummy cocktail involved. Or 12.

Too bad I didn't get a mummu for my birthday. Maybe my new necklace will distract people from my gut...

This is not to say the past few weeks haven't been fun. I've enjoyed every silly second of it. I even -- finally -- got to see a friend I met back in my reporting days. Tamara Timberman-Wright and I have more than a few embarrasing moments from our Clay County days and it was great to reconnect. She hasn't changed one bit. It was one of those great times when even though more than a decade has passed by, we picked up right where we left off. 

My Bunconian friends are going to steal my Book Club's idea of retreating to a local hotel pool every now and again. My younger friends are already planning to ditch the one-time gathering, suprise birthday bash. And I have yet to tire of getting together with my awesome friends.

Thursday night's Bunco gathering was an exceptional blend of catharsis, true friendship and altruism. Jeff took Jenna, Breanna and Ali to an Indians game while most of the Bunco crew and Lisa Tabor (a potential replacement player) joined me on the porch. 

I was fretting over a parenting issue -- both Jeff and I are scheduled to be out of town - on separate work trips -- for part of this coming week and it was going to mean a scheduling struggle for us with Ali. Used to be when one of us needed a sleepover, it was easy. Moms made the plans and the kids were thrilled to go. With teens, they actually want a say in the matter, and because none of my Bunconians have kids in our school or live close anymore, it's harder. This one is even more complicated because two of the Bunconians will be at the same conference as Jeff. 

"Well, hell. I'll do it," pipes up Uncle Jeph. "I'd love to do it. I'll just come over and hang out. It'll be fun."

Just like that my friend fixed something that has given me at least four new wrinkles. Alison squealed like a little girl at the prospect of getting some one-on-one time with "Uncle Jeph." 

I love him. I know I CAN ask this crew for anything and they'd find a way to get it done. I'm just not very good as making the ask. 

When the girls got home, they wanted to do the ALS Bucket challenge. Even though it was a school night, we agreed. They'd go home wet but it's a great cause. They screamed and video-taped, answering their own challenges and issuing a few. None of the Bunconians challenged were feeling up for it, but the girls were up for another go round.

So they agreed to stand in for Jeff, me, Aunt La and Amer.  I was the designated dumper. My aim was terrible and poor little Bree got the brunt of it, so she and I conspired to let her get Jenna and Ali with the hose. I'm sure they all slept well that night. Yes, we are all donating as well.

This birthday has brough me more undeserved lovelies than I deserve, but mostly it's smacked me in the head about how lucky I am to have great friends who've stuck with me through good times and bad. That's a huge gift.

But next time I turn 50, we're all celebrating at the same time. 

Until then, you'll find me in the gym or munching on a carrot. Happy frickin' birthday.  :)

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